Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm not "That Geek"

It came out of nowhere, a lightning bolt to my psyche. The speaker was pointing, saying my name aloud, referencing my soul. "This girl, here, she looks like a geek." *Mental double-take.* WTF?! I look like a what? Did that woman just call me a geek?

Yesterday, I spent my work day in Salem at a seminar to learn how to answer a telephone and manage a front desk. The seminar itself wasn't terribly helpful to my line of work, and I found myself disinterested much of the day. Furthermore, I was mentally somewhere distant. Toward the afternoon, we were discussing computer security. The speaker paused for a moment, looked around, and then pointed directly at me. She used my name so that everyone in the room couldn't possibly forget it, and she said that I looked like a geek. I smiled politely, nodded, and simply looked down at my workbook. Nevermind that the guy two chairs down was wearing a Linux t-shirt and had a Firefox messenger bag. I didn't feel out of place in my jeans and logo-free fleece pull-over. I wasn't doodling or acting my nerdy self. I hadn't spoken out or asked any questions. Wherever the speaker got the impression I am geeky, I have no clue.

People get that impression from me entirely too often. I don't understand it. I've changed my look, changed my body shape, and I wear different clothes. Lost my glasses in favor of contacts in high school... and I have a fairly athletic body from all that sweet swing dancing I love. What gives me away? What about me says to people, "this girl not only reads blogs, but writes one as well"?

I don't have a problem telling people I'm a geek. I wholly embrace my geekiness, but I don't really want people to think of me as "That Geek."

My poor psyche is just about destroyed this week, and the speaker didn't help things.


elle said...

Ummmm maybe she sensed your willingness to embrace your inner geekiness???? Perhaps she has geek envy?

I'm betting she is one of those people who perceives themselves as "cool" and yet has a secret desire to live the life of an intelligent woman ...for a change. :)

I'd trade you your "geek lable" for the one I got tagged with today (and not for the first time) Ma'am. WTH did I stop being a "Miss"

Michael Faris said...

I don't think of you as that geeky, but perhaps it's because I'm deeply embedded in my own geekiness. :)

I'd focus on the women's obvious problem with boundaries and how it's her problem that she has to call out people and stereotype. Yeah, it sucks that she called out you as a "geek," but really, she's got some kind of problem if she has to do that to strangers.

Jaggy said...

Geek envy indeed. Loving your blog, Elle.

Great to see you this week, Michael! Thanks for stopping by and musing here. :)